The Rolls-Royce Phantom may be one of the world’s most exclusive cars but, according to Glass’s, used examples are depreciating at a similar rate to readily available prestige-brand luxury saloons. Glass’s says that, after three years and 36,000 miles, the Phantom (costing £252,038 when new) will have a trade value of approximately £110,000. This represents a fall of 56 per cent, compared to a more modest 52 per cent average fall in value for the Mercedes-Benz S500, BMW 740i and Audi A8 4.2 Quattro (bought today as a used car after three years, 36,000 miles).
The Phantom may not be able to buck the market trend for luxury saloon car depreciation, but values should outperform those of its key rival, the Maybach. Glass’s reports that a Maybach 57 originally costing £252,810 would have a trade value of £95,000 after three years and 36,000 miles, representing a 62 per cent fall in value. The longer wheelbase version of the car, the £291,800 Maybach 62, depreciates at a similar rate, with a trade value of £105,000 after the same period – a 64 per cent fall.
Glass’s believes that the Phantom is currently selling in greater numbers than the Maybach (although neither are meeting their actual sales targets), and the comparative rarity of the Maybach may later help lift values a little closer to those of the Rolls-Royce.
To support sales of their new cars, buy-back schemes are currently being offered by both Rolls-Royce and Maybach to guarantee a future residual value at the end of the first period of ownership. These guaranteed values are likely to be higher than the trade values indicated above – thus protecting new car buyers from some of the effects of depreciation, but disguising the true value of the cars on the open market.
Glass’s says dealers of both the Phantom and the Maybach will typically seek margins of around £20,000 for clean examples of these cars when selling them to their second owners.
A number of factors are influencing the residual values in the super-luxury sector. "First of all there is inevitably a finite market for both new and used cars costing more than £100,000 in this sector," comments Richard Crosthwaite, Prestige Car Editor at Glass’s. "Many of those willing and able to spend this kind of money typically want to make their own choices about specification and colour. They also are often reluctant to invest such sums in any vehicle that has already seen plenty of use."
Crosthwaite says values of all large luxury cars have recently come under increasing pressure as growing number of buyers downsize. "For example, there is evidence that some limousine firms have started to downsize from Mercedes S-Class to E-Class in the knowledge that the latter now fits their requirements perfectly well, but at a lower price and with lower levels of depreciation," he adds.Published 11 June 2004